The disappearance of a diabetic woman missing for more than a month has been upgraded to suspicious, Florida police said today.
"This is still a missing person," Orlando police Sgt. Vincent Ogburn said. "But, usually, within a month, the person is located or someone would have seen her vehicle.
On May 8 at around 9 p.m., Sandra LeMire, 47, told her grandmother, Pauline Varner, she was going to a McDonald's in Kissimmee, Fla., to meet a man she had been in contact with online.
Usually, Varner said, LeMire would have her dates at Varner's home, where she lived, so that her grandmother would be close by.
But this time was different. The man Sandra was meeting worked at McDonald's. She made plans to meet at his workplace, talk a little over coffee, and come home, Varner said.
Varner let LeMire borrow her car, a 1994 red Ford Freestar, so she could be on her way.
LeMire called her grandmother when she arrived, "like she always does," to tell her she had gotten there. She told her, "I will call you before I start back home."
But that call never came, Varner said. LeMire has not been seen since.
Robert Varner, LeMire's father, said "there's a good possibility that they [police] believe she's still alive, so we have hope about that. We want some kind of closure, no matter what. If it's bad news or good news."
Police spokesman Ogburn said the department has been unable to verify that LeMire was last seen at the Kissimmee McDonald's where she had her date. But the man with whom she met there is not a person of interest in LeMire's disappearance, and "his story has been validated and verified," he said.
Pauline Varner said, "All they know from the cameras is that they did have their coffee. It was about a half-hour. Then, he went back to work, she went to the car."
Varner is concerned because LeMire is diabetic and left home without her medical supplies.
Ogburn said the Orlando Police deem the incident suspicious in nature because there have been no sightings of LeMire or the van since her disappearance.
"Oftentimes, we have people who just leave," he said. "They don't want to be recovered by her family, they don't want to be found."
Sandra's uncle, James Varner, believes this is not the case with his niece.
"I know she wouldn't do this," he said. "It's so many different things it could be. She had been told by her father that this Internet business, meeting people isn't a good idea, it's dangerous. But when you're 47 years old, you're going to do what you're going to do. Lonely hearts, you know?"
LeMire's father said his daughter was a pleasant, easy-going person. She had moved to Florida from Michigan three years earlier to take care of her grandmother after a series of surgeries.
He said that when she dated, most of the time, she met people online. But she was not naïve.
"People had to prove to her that she could trust them," he said. "She had some kind of sixth sense about meeting people. Whether they could be friends or whatever."
Crimeline is offering a $5,000 reward for any information about LeMire or her vehicle, Ogburn said
LeMire is 5 feet 4 inches tall with blonde hair. She weighs about 130 pounds. The vehicle she was driving has a Florida license tag J36-8ZE.
If anyone knows of her whereabouts, call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.